Juventus plotting to hijack Roma's Xhaka transfer

Martin Macdonald
Xhaka explains the one reason he is still at Arsenal

Juventus will reportedly attempt to hijack Roma's move for Granit Xhaka if they fail to sign Manuel Locatelli from Sassuolo.

The Bianconeri has prioritised the acquisition of a new central midfielder this summer, with none of Weston McKennie, Aaron Ramsey, Rodrigo Bentancur or Arthur particularly impressive in that position in 2020/21.

Their number one target remains Locatelli, but the Italy international has other suitors from around Europe including apparently Manchester City.

Should Juventus be priced out of a transfer, they will target Xhaka, according to Calciomercato.

Xhaka remains a first-team player at Arsenal but has never been too far away from criticism at the Emirates, and would be open to a move away.

Ahead of the European Championship, the 28-year-old was heavily linked with Roma, with new head coach Jose Mourinho allegedly keen to bring him to the Italian capital to bolster his midfield.

However, he has suddenly become more of a wanted man following his performances for Switzerland at the tournament.

Xhaka has been excellent, and was particularly impressive in his nation's stunning victory against France on penalties.

He had 102 touches of the ball and completed 80/87 attempted passes, while it was his fabulous through-pass that led to Mario Gavranovic's spectacular equaliser in injury time.

Juve, now, see him as an alternative to Locatelli.

Everyone knows what Roma represent
- Granit Xhaka

Xhaka to Roma

It seemed almost inevitable that Xhaka would eventually move to Roma as he even commented on the transfer rumours outright recently when he admitted to learning Italian.

"Not yet… It is always interesting to learn a new language," he said when asked if he could do post-match interviews in Italian.

"Let’s see, everyone knows what Roma represent. Now, I am an Arsenal player, I will speak after the tournament."

He has also previously commented on the admiration he has for Mourinho, saying:

“To be honest, I didn’t hear what Mourinho has said about me. But that makes you proud. Everyone knows Mourinho, knows what he has achieved. Mourinho knows how to win titles.

“You can now see what work I have done over the past few years.”

His international team-mate Remo Freuler, who plays for Atalanta, meanwhile, revealed that Xhaka had asked him what Italy was like.

“Earlier he asked me how the roads in Italy are,” Freuler told Il Corriere dello Sport of Xhaka ahead of the Swiss side’s clash with Italy in Euro 2020.